Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 11, 1885

Sermon/Waiting and Watching for Christ’s Appearing

Orebro, Sweden

October 28, 1885

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 42, 233, 355. +Note

Waiting and Watching for Christ’s Appearing

“Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” [Luke 21:34-36.] 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 1

Christ bids us watch, that we may be accounted worthy to escape the things that are coming on the earth. It is of the greatest importance that we heed this warning. The enemy of all righteousness is on our track, seeking to lead us to forget God. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 2

We should be filled with joy at the thought of Christ’s soon appearing. To those that love His appearing, He will come without sin unto salvation. But if our minds are filled with thoughts of earthly things, we cannot look forward with joy to His appearing. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 3

“If I knew that Christ were coming in a few years,” one says, “I should live very differently.” But if we believe that He is coming at all, we should live just as faithfully as if we knew that He would appear in a few years. We cannot see the end from the beginning, but Christ has provided sufficient help for every day in the year. All we have to do with is this one day. Today we must be faithful to our trust. Today we must love God with all the heart and our neighbor as ourselves. Today we must resist the temptations of the enemy and through the grace of Christ gain the victory. Thus we shall watch and wait for Christ’s coming. Each day we should live as if we knew that this would be our last day on this earth. If we knew that Christ would come tomorrow, would we not crowd into today all the kind words, all the unselfish deeds, that we could? We should be patient and gentle, and intensely in earnest, doing all in our power to win souls to Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 4

If for some crime that you had committed you were incarcerated within prison walls, with the sentence of death passed upon you, and a friend should come to you and say, “I will take your place, and you may go free,” would not your heart be filled with gratitude for such unselfish love? Christ has done infinitely more than this for us. We were lost; the sentence of death had been passed upon us; and Christ died for us, and thus set us free. He said, “I will take upon Myself the guilt of the sinner, that he may have another trial. I will put within his reach power that will enable him to overcome in the struggle with evil.” 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 5

This is where human beings stand today. Christ has bought us with His life, and we belong to Him. All our powers, physical, mental, and spiritual, belong to Him; and to withhold from Him that which is His own is robbery. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 6

I urge you to turn your attention from worldly things, and center your thoughts on the things of eternity. Christ has placed everlasting life within your reach, and He has promised to give you help in every time of need. When He was on this earth in person, the sick and the afflicted, the poor and needy flocked to Him, and He turned no one away unhelped and uncomforted. There was one man, a paralytic, who for a long time had been helpless. The physicians told him that they could not cure his disease, and the Pharisees told him that his sickness was a result of his own sins and that there was no help for him. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 7

But his friends felt that there was still one chance for his life. They determined to take him to Jesus. When they reached the door of the house in which Christ was at the time, they found such a crowd of people round it that they could not enter. They refused to be hindered by this obstacle, and taking the sick man to the top of the house, they let him down through the roof. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 8

The Saviour knew what the man wanted. He saw the faith of those who had brought him, and He said, “Son, be of good comfort; thy sins be forgiven thee.” [Matthew 9:2.] What comfort and peace and joy filled the heart of the sick man as he heard these words! 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 9

“And behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is it easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven; or to say, Arise and walk. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house.” [Verses 3-7.] 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 10

Today we may come to Christ for help, confiding in Him, and by faith claiming His promises. He will help us just as surely as He helped the paralytic. He wants us to believe that He is able to do all things. He will let His blessing rest upon all who come to Him in faith. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 11

There were many places in which Christ could not do many mighty works, “because of their unbelief.” [Matthew 13:58.] Unbelief is cruel, and we should cast every vestige of it out of our hearts. If God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us, think you that He will withhold from us any needed blessing? 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 12

We are not to live for ourselves. Christ came to this world to live for others—not to be ministered unto, but to minister. If you strive to live as He lived, you are saying to the world, “Behold the Man of Calvary.” By precept and example you are leading others in the way of righteousness. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 13

While in this world, men and women must work. Labor is not a disgrace, but a blessing. Christ Himself worked with His hands, and so did the apostles. Christ does not want us to spend our time in idle contemplation. While we are working with our hands, we can be thinking of God and heaven. We can take the Saviour with us to our work. We can know, if we will, that He is at our right hand, ready to help us in every time of need. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 14

God wants every one of us to have salvation. “I will make a man more precious than gold,” He declares, “even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” [Isaiah 13:12.] As the stones in their rough state are taken from the quarry, and prepared for the building of which they are to form a part, so God’s people are taken from the world and prepared for a place in His everlasting kingdom. The truth, received into the heart, exerts upon the character a sanctifying, ennobling influence. Those who have rough, harsh traits of character must be brought into God’s workshop, that they may be prepared by polishing for a place in His temple. Those who take part in the life to come will in this life be made white and tried. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 15

We should never rest satisfied with present attainments. If we put mind and heart into the work of reaching God’s ideal for us, if we go to Christ, the mighty Helper, for aid, He will give us the very assistance that we need. He will bestow on us the very power that will enable us to be victorious in the struggle against evil. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 16

We ought to know more of Jesus tomorrow than we do today. We ought to be constantly growing in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, advancing heavenward step by step. When the redeemed hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant” [Matthew 25:23], do you think that any of them will regret the sacrifice that they have made to gain the victory? Let us keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus. By beholding Him, we shall be changed into His likeness. But if we keep thinking and talking of our trials, we shall lose sight of heaven. Let us say with Paul, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things that are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” [2 Corinthians 4:17, 18.] 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1885, par. 17